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Make Sure You Are Using VISs in Accordance with Federal Law

April 2017

Technically Speaking
Monthly Column by Deborah Wexler, MD
Deborah Wexler MD
Technically Speaking is a monthly column written by IAC’s Executive Director Deborah Wexler, MD. The column is featured in The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Vaccine Education Center’s (VEC’s) monthly e-newsletter for healthcare professionals. Technically Speaking columns cover practical topics in immunization delivery such as needle length, vaccine administration, cold chain, and immunization schedules.
Check out a recent issue of Vaccine Update for Healthcare Providers. The VEC e-newsletter keeps providers up to date on vaccine-related issues and includes reviews of recently published journal articles, media recaps, announcements about new resources, and a regularly updated calendar of events.
TECHNICALLY SPEAKING
Make Sure You Are Using VISs in Accordance with Federal Law
Published April 2017
Information presented in this article may have changed since the original publication date. For the most current immunization recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, visit www.immunize.org/acip/acip_vax.asp.
Vaccine Information Statements (VISs) are developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and provide a standardized way to present basic information to patients about vaccine benefits and possible adverse events. Before a healthcare provider vaccinates a child or an adult with a dose of any vaccine containing diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, measles, mumps, rubella, polio, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, Hib, influenza, pneumococcal conjugate, meningococcal ACWY, meningococcal B, rotavirus, human papillomavirus, or varicella vaccine, the provider is required by law (the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act) to provide a copy of the VIS to the patient (or the parent/legal representative of the child) who is receiving the vaccine. For other vaccines not covered under the law (pneumococcal polysaccharide, zoster, and travel vaccines, excluding hepatitis A), giving a patient a VIS is recommended, but not required.

The VIS must be given to the patient before the dose of vaccine is administered and must be offered before every dose of the vaccine (i.e., not just the first dose). Usually a paper copy of the VIS is given, but it is also acceptable to have the patient read the VIS on an electronic device, such as computer screen, smart phone, or tablet, or on a laminated copy during the office visit, but the patient must also be offered a paper or an electronic copy of the VIS to take home.

Federal law requires not only that the clinician provide a VIS to the patient, but also that the date the VIS is given to the patient and the VIS publication date are recorded in the patient’s chart. It is important to use the most recent version of a VIS.

VIS resources from IAC

The website of the Immunization Action Coalition has the following resources related to VISs, all of which are available at www.immunize.org/vis:

VIS resources from CDC

Want to be notified when new or updated VISs, or their translations, are released? Sign up for IAC’s free weekly email news service, IAC Express. To subscribe, visit www.immunize.org/subscribe.

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